Swede Olson Is Hard To Overlook

By Jeff Bro Olsen

It’s only fitting that Alan “Swede” Olson was born on D-Day. It just wasn’t on June 6, 1944. He was born 13 years later to the day.

So, he’s getting old.

No wonder he’s also a Bartelma Hall of Famer for his durability and talents. “I’ve reffed the Fertile Northwest Tournament for 45 straight years.”

The bloke never gets sick. Either that or his wife, Jackie, doesn’t want him hanging around on that particular Saturday in early February. “You’re not sick, you big Swede!” she says, rubbing Vicks on his chest.

He’s been around so long that he finally got to ref at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. It was long overdue. In 2022, he got the assignment to referee the state team consolation matches. “It had never worked out before. The schedule never cooperated.”

He’s not a ballerina, and he looks like a pipefitter. In fact, he’s an electrician. “I did the subsections and sections until I started coaching.”

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Grappling Gravalin wasn’t destined to be a Gretzky

By Jeff Bro Olsen

In the early 1960s, the kid was a rink rat in Moorhead. Oh, he could make things happen out on the ice.

Tom Gravalin is 71, long retired from coaching, but he remembers how his young hockey career got zapped.

“I grew up in Moorhead. I’m a city kid and lived across the street from a hockey rink, and I played hockey up until the seventh grade.”

He was having a blast, a skinny kid with thick eyeglasses. Kids back then didn’t wear face masks.

If they had, his high school career would have been different.

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